|Ice cream with 23K edible gold leaf|
Iran's Rich Eat Ice Cream Flecked with Gold as Poor Struggle to Survive
Although record oil profits have brought in billions of dollars to the Iranian Revolution, many say the gap in Iran between rich and poor has never seemed wider. Iran's new wealthy class includes children of people with close connections to some of Iran's rulers, as well as families of factory owners and those who managed to get huge loans from state banks at low interest rates. The oil windfall - nearly $500 billion over the past five years - has played a central role in establishing this small group that is visibly enjoying its profits.
The new wealthy are buying Porsches, getting caviar delivered to late-night parties, and eating $250 ice cream covered in edible gold at what's billed as the highest rotating restaurant in the world, atop Tehran's 1,427-foot-high Milad Tower.
"Anger over inequality had been the main motivation for people to join the 1979 [Islamic] revolution," said Hossein Raghfar, an economist who recently quit as an adviser to Ahmadinejad's government. Raghfar noted that 2.5 million children are working rather than attending school, and that there has been an increase in legal kidney sales - along with a recent price drop, from $10,000 to $2,000, because so many people are selling their organs for cash.